Bombing at southern Thai beach kills 3 policemen
HAT YAI, Thailand (AP) — An explosion at a fishing competition Friday in Thailand’s insurgency-plagued south has killed three policemen and wounded 17 other people, police said.
Police Col. Panya Karawanun said Muslim separatist insurgents are suspected of detonating a homemade bomb at a beach in Pattani province’s Saiburi district.
He said the wounded include seven policemen who were providing security at the event.
More than 5,000 people have been killed since an Islamist insurgency flared in 2004 in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, which are predominantly Muslim. Thailand has a Buddhist majority, and southern Muslims have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens.
A large-scale effort by the army to curb the insurgents, who typically carry out ambushes and drive-by shootings, has met with limited success.
While the insurgents target mainly security forces, they also attack teachers, who are perceived as representatives of the government. Muslims are among the victims, killed by insurgents as well as Buddhist vigilantes.
Recent fatalities have included a 2-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy, the son of a suspected insurgent.